Minnie Pwerle


Minnie was rated in the March 2003 issue of "Australian Art Collector"
magazine as one of the 50 most collectable artists in Australia.

Minnie Pwerle

Born:                c 1910
Died:                March, 2006
Region:              Central Desert 
Community:           Utopia 
Art centre:          Utopia Batik and Arts 
Outstation:          Atnwengerrp 
Language:            Anmatyerre, Alyawarr 
Social Affiliation:  Pwerle subsection

National Gallery of Victoria
Queensland Art Gallery, 
Gallery of NSW
Art Gallery of South Australia
Kelton Foundation, USA
Kreglinger Collection, 
Thomas Vroom Collection, The Netherlands

Individual Exhibitions: 
2004	Minnie Pwerele, Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne. 
2003	Minnie Pwerle Original & Authentic Aboriginal Art, Melbourne
2001	Women Artists of the Australian Desert Auckland, New Zealand
2000	Minnie Pwerle Sydney

Group Exhibitions: 
2000, Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, NT 
2001, Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, NT
2002, 'Generations', Japingka Gallery, WA 
2002, 'The Utopia Six', Flinders Lane Gallery, Vic
2002, Chapman Gallery, ACT
2002, 'United - Mother and Daughter', Alison Kelly Gallery, Vic
2002, New York City, USA
2002, Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, NT
2002, October, Heart and Soul Gallery, Nashville, TN, USA
2002, October, Mary Woods, Portland, OR, USA
2002, October, Urban Wineworks, Portland, OR, USA
2002, October, Carriage House Gallery - 'In the Cove', Portland, OR, USA
2003, Feb, World Vision_Walkabout Gallery, Sydney "My Grandmother and Me" 2 
2003, March, Light Over Utopia, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, WA 

Ryan, Judith. Colour Power - Aboriginal Art Post 1984, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2004.

Birnberg & Kreczmanski,  Aboriginal Artists dictionary of biographies, JB Publishing, (C).

Notes: Minnie Pwerle was born around 1910 in the Utopia region. As one of 6 six children she enjoyed a colourful childhood, later becoming the mother of 7 children of her own; Minnie was always a well-loved member of a large family. Her country is known as Atnwengerrp and her languages Anmatyerre and Alyawarr. Minnie's career as an artist began through Aboriginal ceremony and ritual. Her craft instigated by her appointment as a body painter during Women's ceremonies. Body paint designs are worn to represent Dreamings and various symbols specific to particular rituals. Usually the upper body is covered in animal fat and intricate designs painted on the chest, back and arms with paints made from ochre's. It was not until 1999 at approximately 80 + years of age, that Minnie began painting on canvas. Her first series of works painted at the Utopia Communities workshops were linear paintings, expressing a bold, free-flowing, enigmatic style that quickly drew the interest of critics and art lovers alike. The artists primary Dreamings include "Awelye-Atnwengerrp" (Women's Dreaming), "Bush Melon", and "Bush Melon Seed". The Bush Melon itself once bountiful in supply has slowly diminished over time. The fruit could be eaten immediately or dried and stored for later use. A plant specific to the Atnwengerrp region, Minnie's Dreamings tell the story of a treasured delicacy that sustained her people for long periods of time. Linear designs of circles, curves and breast designs depict the "Bush Melon", while "Bush Melon Seed" is represented by large and small patches of colour strewn across the canvas. Lines of various width and colour represent the body paint designs worn by the women during ceremony or "Women's Dreaming". Minnie's more recent works have drawn comparisons to Emily Knwarreye's "Wild Yam Stories" painted in the mid 1990's. Eclectic in nature, her work seems to combine modernism, contemporary theory, impressionism and Aboriginality while also expressing a story of her own sacred dreamings. Her combination of historical visual styles and spiritual content promote a sense of unity amongst two vary different spheres of influence. As the mother of Barbara Weir, also a well know Aboriginal artist, it is clear that Minnie has successfully past on her talent. Her contributions to the Aboriginal art movement have been invaluable, as a respected elder of her community her work offers insight in to the spiritual world of the Australian Aborigine, whilst providing visual art lovers with a striking, and highly unique collection of works to enjoy. (Notes courtesy of Jinta)

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